Teaching the Foundations in AI: Mobile Robots and Symbolic Victories

David A. Shamma, University of West Florida; and Carl W. Turner, CHI Systems,Inc.

Introductory AI courses present students with difficult theoretical issues related to the intelligence and behavior of agents operating in the world. We believe that mobile robot projects, when integrated with readings and discussions, help students bridge the gap between abstract AI theory and implementation. In this article we describe an introductory AI class designed around readings, discussion, and student-led mobile robot projects. We then review the outcome of a recent robot project. Finally, we report on the results of surveys taken during the semester to evaluate the success of the course in forming student opinions towards intelligence and agency.

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